As this year's guest artist for the University of Utah's annual Boguslavsky Scholarship concert, violinist Andres Cardenes presented a wonderfully diverse program for his recital Monday evening in Libby Gardner Concert Hall.
The program focused on music of the 20th century, and its thrust was on the rich variety of styles that the century produced. Cardenes managed to cover some 90 years, from Ysaye's "Chant d'Hiver" to Lutoslawski's "Subito," with Hindemith's Sonata in E major and Prokofiev's Sonata in D major, from midcentury, thrown in. It was a well-balanced program made all the more remarkable since these pieces are quite melodic in their own way, as well as being audience-friendly.
Hindemith was a prolific composer who wrote in every genre. His chamber music output was immense, yet not that familiar to most concertgoers today. Among his neglected works is the Sonata in E major, a wonderfully dynamic piece that in its two movements hovers between the tranquility of the opening movement and the preponderant angularity of the second.
Cardenes and his accompanist, pianist Rodrigo Ojeda, gave a dynamic and finely nuanced reading of the sonata, vividly capturing the expressiveness of the first movement, as well as the angry outbursts of the second.
Ysaye's "Chant d'Hiver" is a gorgeous piece, impressionistic in spots, but mostly rather austere. It's haunting and almost hypnotic. The duo brought out the expressiveness of the music with a sensitive interpretation and nuanced playing. Cardenes in particular played compellingly it was heartfelt and emotionally vibrant.
Lutoslawski's brief "Subito," the last work he wrote, is, as the title implies, filled with sudden changes in dynamics and tempos. It moves between a boldly stated refrain, which is repeated four times, and more lyrical contrasting episodes. Cardenes and Ojeda gave a vividly dynamic reading that brought depth and a clearly defined perspective to the piece.
Prokofiev's Sonata in D major was originally written for flute and piano. It's one of the composer's most melodic chamber pieces, no doubt owing to its origin. It's a demanding work, quite virtuosic in places, yet fabulously expressive. Cardenes and Ojeda gave a wonderfully dynamic performance that captured the lyricism of the music and also its bold lines.
Throughout the concert, in fact, Cardenes and Ojeda's ensemble playing was of the highest order. The two are almost intuitive in their collaborative efforts. They see eye to eye in their approach and execution. Rarely does one find this high artistic level in a collaboration. And when one does, it's heavenly.One other work was on the program Mozart's Sonata in B flat major, K. 378. While one might think Mozart would be out of context in this type of program, the work fit right in and brought a wonderful balance to the program as a whole.